Today we encounter the theme of the entire book of Proverbs, as well as its two primary characters. Yes, I realize that this isn’t a narrative per se, but the first few chapters of this book are written as wise man speaking to his son or “my child.”
So, what is this theme you may ask? The theme is the fear of the Lord.
If you’ve spent time attending church in whatever form you have probably heard that phase, the fear of the Lord. But, like many, you also may not know what it really means. Yes, in its most literal understanding fear is part of what is being communicated in this phrase. The Lord, is the one whom we are supposed to be afraid of. However, it doesn’t end there. It also covers the idea of respect and worship. We are to respect the Lord and his awesomeness, and that respect brings us to worship. When God revealed himself in the Old Testament it was not only mortifying, but a task that only a select few could survive. This fear was meant to scare us straight. And as we respond to this fear, we submit ourselves to His will. (See notes on bible.org)
It is out of this fear and worship that we build a foundation for wisdom. If we don’t have reverence and fear for the person doing the teaching, why should we believe it?
We also meet the protagonist known as “my child” and the antagonist “the fool.” It is clear from the start that the the fool is the one who despises wisdom. Isn’t that an interesting choice of words. When we think of fools, we don’t think of people who hate and despise wisdom.
But, fools aren’t just people with a low IQ. A fools is someone who doesn’t understand things. As we will learn, they are arrogant, contentious, talk loosely and refuse correction. In other words, they have no morals, are stubborn and are prone to folly. (See notes on bible.org)
Once you have a proper understanding of what a fool is, I hope you have an instant desire to not be one of them. It’s not hard to spot one. I’m sure you’ve experienced some in your life, I most certainly have. If you have, you know that they don’t listen to an anything but their own voice. Any words you speak in the hope they will think differently are a waste of breath.
May I suggest that you be the protagonist in this story? Will you join me in a pursuit of the Proverbious life?
7 Fearing the Lord is the beginning of moral knowledge (wisdom),
but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
8 Listen, my child, to the instruction from your father,
and do not forsake the teaching from your mother.
9 For they will be like an elegant garland on your head,
and like pendants around your neck. (NET Bible Translation)